The Big Secret

Meet Ruby. (*name changed for privacy)

She’s a product manager with a big secret: speaking anxiety.

But nobody would suspect it.

She comes across as capable, poised, and confident to her boss and her co-workers.

However, what people don’t see is that Ruby works to the point of exhaustion. She never stops preparing for meetings. Her heart pounds at the thought of being put on the spot. 

Every day Ruby fears having a panic attack in front of her co-workers. She imagines how one moment could crumble her entire career. The thought of humiliation haunts her constantly.

Then one day, something terrible happens.

Ruby gets promoted.

Now she has to speak to senior leaders and present to entire departments. Her boss even asks her to say a few words at the next company-wide all hands.

All of a sudden her calendar explodes and she has no time to prepare for anything.

Ruby’s anxiety levels are through the roof.

The stakes are wild and the days are starting to feel unbearable.

Everybody congratulates Ruby on all her “success,” but deep down she fantasizes about quitting.

Life shouldn’t be this miserable . . . should it?

Break the anxiety cycle

Work is stressful for a lot of people. And stress bitters the taste of life.

Ruby is not alone. There are millions of people struggling with speaking anxiety. 

Most of them are suffering in secret.

We’d like that to change.

That’s why we hosted a special discussion on what it takes to overcome speaking anxiety.

We took questions, shared resources, and suggested training plans for the new year.

Here’s the link to watch the replay: https://youtu.be/D6svAsYWf38?t=6

Watch for yourself or on behalf of a colleague. They’ll thank you for it.

Speaking is…

Speaking is brainstorming out loud

Speaking is thinking through ideas as you go

Speaking is a subconscious process

Speaking is more fun when it’s spontaneous

Speaking is more effective with a powerful intention

Speaking is more interesting when you’re interested in what you’re saying

Speaking is more impactful when you believe in what you’re saying

Speaking is trusting yourself in the moment

Speaking is something you already know how to do

Speaking is harder when you’re nervous

Speaking is easier when you’re excited

Speaking is not supposed to be perfect

Speaking is an extension of your personality

Speaking is healing

Speaking is worth doing

You Already Have What It Takes

I used to hate dancing.

I remember my first hip hop dance class. If you’re ever looking for a reason to feel bad about yourself, I highly recommend it.

Immediately, the choreography felt impossible to learn. Every step felt awkward and unnatural. As I fumbled through the footwork, I felt like the malfunctioning piece in an otherwise well-oiled machine.

Needless to say, I didn’t go back.

I proved my theory: dancing just wasn’t for me.

A few weeks later, I complained to my friend Gio about this traumatic experience and sought some advice on how to tackle my insecurity around dancing.

Gio, a 35-year-old Wim Hof instructor who climbs snowy mountains in his underwear, told me something I’ll never forget.

“Most people want to try to learn how to do something. But me, I just go out and do it.”

Feeling inspired, I went home that night, popped in my headphones, put on a blindfold, and danced my heart and soul out.

On the outside, it must have looked hilarious and a bit insane.

But on the inside, I was having a blast. For the first time in my life, I actually felt good dancing.

All of a sudden, I found myself waking up in the morning, itching to throw on my headphones and blindfold and start moving my body to the beat.

A few weeks later, I felt so good dancing that I mustered the courage to take off the blindfold.

My cat wasn’t impressed with my moves, but I was enjoying myself too much to care.

Soon after, I became curious about what else was possible.

I found myself watching Youtube videos of incredible dancers doing wizardry with their bodies. They all had their own moves, their own styles, and their own interpretations of the beat. It was incredibly liberating to see and encouraged me to continue my living room dances.

And before I knew it, within a month of talking to Gio, I found myself falling in love with dancing.

Like most people, I used to think I needed to learn how to be a good dancer in order to enjoy dancing.

Now I realize I had it backward.

I needed to learn to enjoy dancing in order to become a good dancer.

If you’re insecure about a skill—be it dancing, singing, or speaking—do yourself a favor and learn to enjoy it first.

Be wary of instructors who focus on teaching you what to do.

Instead, find someone who believes that you already have what it takes.

Find someone who inspires you to build the confidence to actually do the thing you want to be doing.

After all, the whole point of self-expression is not to try to learn how to do it.

It’s to just go out and do it.

The Trick to Elevator Pitches

One of my favorite tricks to play on CEOs and entrepreneurs is to ask them, “Tell us about your company.”

Immediately, some jump into the weeds. Others jump into a story. A select few give beautifully crafted answers that position their business in a heroic light.

No matter what they say, I always respond with the same question to everyone in the audience:

How did the speaker FEEL about his company?”

They never see it coming.

Immediately, a sheepish wave of awareness fills the room as people realize that the entire answer had been devoid of emotion.

Having seen this over and over, I know the next thing I say will hit people right in the gut—because deep down we know it to be true.

I look the speaker right in the eye, and in a Mr. Miyagi moment, I ask him:

“If you don’t feel anything while you speak, how do you expect us to feel anything?”

Elevator pitches are emotional opportunities in disguise.

There’s a famous quote in sales:

“People don’t buy on logic. They buy on emotion.”

If you want people to buy into your elevator pitch, you can’t rely on logic alone.

You have to feel.

But you can’t fake this. You can’t just say the same words with more passion and enthusiasm and call it a day.

For this to be real, you need to shift your focus to a better question, such as:

  • What do you truly love about your company?
  • What about it genuinely inspires you?
  • Why should we care about it?

Whatever you say next needs to come from the heart.

People don’t just buy into your elevator pitch. They buy into you.

And in the end, we probably won’t remember most of what you tell us anyway.

But we’ll never forget how you made us feel.

What Makes Us Different

“Did I ever tell you why I picked you and not the other coaches?”

Matthew, the managing partner of a large debt and equity fund, had been working with us for 4 weeks.

He is smarter than I am. He may even be smarter than you are. It’s utterly fascinating to watch his brain work. Lightning fast and razor sharp, it’s like being around a problem solving Ferrari.

When Matthew speaks, all the correct information is there. It’s logical, rational, and to-the-point.

But Matthew hates speaking to audiences he doesn’t know well. He feels tremendous tension and unease. He rushes through his content, even when he knows it inside out. When he’s holding a microphone, it makes things exponentially worse.

All he wants is to get off the hot seat.

Thankfully, he understands the value of coaching to achieve peak performance, so he had his assistant reach out to the top speaking coaches in LA, UltraSpeaking included.

When we met with Matthew for the first time, he shared what he wanted:

“I want to become a better speaker. I want to have better vocal variety. I want to look more confident when I’m speaking.”

He wanted help for a key event he had coming up.

Matthew chose to work with us, and one month into our coaching, he said:

– “Did I ever tell you why I picked you and not the other coaches?”

– “No. Why?”

– “All the other coaches wanted was to focus on building a great speech for my event. The plan was to craft the content, then work on delivery. Their theory was that if I nailed this speech, I would become a better speaker as a result.”

– “So why did you pick us?”

– “Well, you had the opposite approach. You said we’d ONLY focus on helping me FEEL GOOD speaking.

Your theory was that the moment I’d start feeling good, most of my speaking issues would simply fade away.

It made a lot more sense to me, and it also sounded like much more fun.”

Most people know what they want, but not what they need.

Sadly, many coaches give their clients what they say they want, instead what they actually need.

But what’s the point of looking like a great speaker if you feel horrible inside?

And what if I told you that if you spend your time learning tips on how to improve your skills as a speaker when you don’t feel good speaking, your problem will only get worse.

Don’t get me wrong, we love sharing tips, tweaks, and techniques to improve your skills as a speaker, but we only do it once we’ve tackled what we believe to be the most important piece of the speaking puzzle:

Getting you to feel great speaking.